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Tyson to Close Three U.S. Plants That Make Prepared Foods

Tyson Foods Inc., which agreed to acquire Hillshire Brands Co. earlier this month to expand its sales of prepared foods, plans to close three of its own plants and use more of the available production capacity at other sites.

The affected plants, which make prepared foods, are in Buffalo; Cherokee, Iowa; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The move will affect 950 workers, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said today in a statement.

“The closings were under consideration long before our decision to acquire Hillshire Brands,” Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson, said by phone today. “The closings will enable the company to use more of the available production capacity at the existing prepared foods plants.”

The Iowa plant will close in September, while the New York and New Mexico facilities will shut down in 2015, the company said. The sites have been “struggling financially,” Donnie King, Tyson’s president for prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions, said in the statement. The plants make products including hot dogs, deli meats and hams.

Tyson Foods agreed in July to acquire Hillshire Brands Co. for about $7.8 billion to add retail brands such as Ball Park hot dogs and State Fair corn dogs to its production line to expand further into the market for prepared foods. The deal will also reduce Tyson’s dependence on its commodity meat-packing business. The $63-a-share takeover of Hillshire is anticipated to close by Sept. 27.

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